first_imgThe race was the last scheduled open-wheel event at the track. Four caution periods slowed the average speed to 168.567, nearly 40 mph slower than the record pace of 207.151 mph set by Hornish in 2003. In four races at Fontana, the margins of victory total to 0.5142 of a second;The last race in the series for Chevrolet. Scheckter tried to give the red bow tie brigade a win in its finale by leading 80 laps, but was shuffled back to seventh after the last restart with eight laps to go;The end of an emotional tradition that paid homage to the late Greg Moore. Franchitti followed the lead of 2004 winner Adrian Fernandez by burning celebratory burnouts near Turn 2, near where Moore died during the 1999 CART Marlboro 500. “It seemed like a cool thing to do last year,” said Franchitti, who counted Moore among his closest of personal friends. “Last year was completely spur of the moment. This year, I just wanted a couple of minutes to hang out there.” The race came down to the last eight laps after rookie Danica Patrick and Rancho Cucamonga driver Jaques Lazier touched wheels in Turn 4 on Lap 184. Each driver blamed the other for the accident, which occured while they battled for the eighth spot. On the restart, the first six drivers were bunched up less than a second behind Franchitti. He and Kanaan slowly pulled away as Castroneves, 2005 series champion Wheldon, Sharp and Scheckter faded in five laps. “I think we missed a little on the restart gears,” said Scheckter. “That, combined with the fact I had a major push off Turn 2, I couldn’t catch back up to the lead guys.” Kanaan remained right behind Franchitti until the final lap, when Kanaan pushed ahead coming off the last turn. “I think we raced each other pretty hard. Toward the end was a shame,” Kanaan said. “I really don’t know what happened. Either I missed a shift, pressed the wrong button. They reckon I pressed the pit lane speed limit (button) instead of the overtake. “I’m not very happy about it.” Kanaan was a bit unconvincing in his explanation, smiling through every word. “What can I say? People make mistakes,” Kanaan said. Franchitti, a first-time winner at Fontana in seven attempts, said not making mistakes was the difference. “We just struggled with understeer a bit,” said Franchitti, who had an emotional moment with wife Ashley Judd in the winner’s circle. “We slowly worked on that as the day went. We didn’t make any mistakes, and that’s what it came down to. This old engine (Honda) in the back certainly didn’t hurt things. You think a track as big and wide as Fontana, it would be all about horsepower. “But it’s a combination of the two (horsepower and handling). You have to get the car handling right.” As for Kanaan, Franchitti will attempt to get the answer tonight at the championship banquet. “I don’t know, I just know we worked very well together to pull away,” Franchitti said. “I’ll get to the bottom of it. I’ll ply him with alcohol tomorrow and I’ll get the answer out of him. “Tony is a very strange character. Tony is either the most generous guy you’ll ever meet or one of the most selfish, and there’s very rarely a middle ground with Tony.” On Sunday, the disputed middle ground was just short of the finish line. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “I’ll get to the bottom of it,” Franchitti said after his 0.117 of a second win over his Andretti Green Racing teammate. “It looked like he lifted. If he lifted, I think he would say. I think he’s entirely capable of doing it. “I have to say, I would do the same for him. If the roles were reversed, I would do the same for him. That’s the relationship we have, and have had for a long time.” There was no question Franchitti, the first Indy Racing League driver to win from the pole at Fontana, and Kanaan had the dominant cars in the 200-lap race. They worked together to pull away from Vitor Meira, the third-place finisher who was 0.9880 of a second behind Franchitti. Scott Sharp and Sam Hornish Jr. finished in the top five, followed by Dan Wheldon, Tomas Scheckter, Tomas Enge, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon. As usual, it was close racing throughout the race that could have been dubbed the IRL Farewell 400: FONTANA — Did Tony Kanaan lift his foot off the throttle 250 yards from the finish of Sunday’s Toyota Indy 400 and allow teammate Dario Franchitti to win? Or did Kanaan accidently hit the wrong button? center_img “It’s my word against yours,” Kanaan said when pressed for the answer after the IndyCar Series season finale before a sparse estimated crowd of 32,000 at California Speedway. Photo gallery: Sunday’s Indy 400 at Fontana last_img